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Digital Dice by Paul J. Nahin

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20. An Optimal Stopping Problem

“The very best” is the enemy of “good enough.”

—an old saying among designers of military weapons systems

A good example of the above assertion is the cruise missile. A cruise missile is powered by a lightweight, inexpensive jet engine that, by its very nature, has a life expectancy after launch measured in a very small number of hours at most. The whole point of a cruise missile, after all, is to successfully vanish in a stupendous fireball once it arrives on target, and so why use a reliable, long-life, expensive ...

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